I am a sea bather, I swim in the sea all year round without a wetsuit in temperatures as low as 4°C (39°F) and have been doing this for the past 8 years. For the most part I go swimming with my fellow members of the Brighton swimming club at 7:30AM when no one else is around to see our cold water exploits. Once a year that changes. On Christmas day the swimming club swims at 11am when it is joined by a large number of none club members and as many as 100 people enter the water. It’s not just the extra company we have in the water, we are also watched by over a thousand people who line the beach and the groynes. Many of the swimmers don fancy dress costumes which, combined with the large crowds, makes it a fantastic event to document. The only problem is that it’s a very challenging environment to shoot in. I take my photos from the water with my Nikonos V waterproof camera.
Because the water is cold most people don’t stay in very long so I only have about 10 minutes to get my shots. It was really rough this Christmas so I did not get the chance to shoot many pictures but you can see the cream of the crop below, as well as some gems from previous years. It was so rough that the swim was officially called off to members of the public, not that it stopped anyone. Several people needed assistance getting out of the water and one individual needed rescuing by Eileen Remedios, Paul Smith and Fiona Southwell (all brighton swimming club members) and was taken away in an ambulance.
You can click on the images below see them on their respective Flickr pages.
Boxing day swim, Folkestone 2005
LOVE these pics kev,saw you down on the beach.xx
Just spectating? You should of said hello.
I rather like the green mankini…quite festive!!
Even though this event is right in front of my flat, I never get to see it as I am always out of town at this time of the year. I love that you get these from in the water, Kev – and lol the mankini shot is particularly brilliant. 🙂
I have only managed to make it 4 times since 2003. It is rather special.
this must be an awesome event however, it is just crazy! here in Miami, FL we avoid the beach when the water temperature reaches (70°F).
beautiful photos as always
Oh my! that’s the temperature that our sea will get to in summer if we are lucky!
Fantastic photos! I’ve been following your Flickr stream for a while and decided to check out your blog, the photos are great, your camera is from 1986 right? It pulls great photos!
I bookmarked the site, I will be coming back!
Says 1984 on Wikapidia. The one used on Christmas is a bit newer than that because I borrowed of a friend that brought it brand new in the 90’s.
There is something very surrealistic about the Santa Claus swimming around in the sea during Christmas.
P.s. Very funny and vivid photos!
great shots, been thinking about getting one of these cams for in water surf photog. is it much trouble getting the focus right?
As long as you judge distances you should not have a problem. If you have a problem with judging distances just use faster film and close the aperture down, that way your guaranteed to get more in focus.